Oregon Liberals Risk an Ugly Legacy as Another County Joins 'Greater Idaho' Movement


Here’s a solution for Oregon residents suffering from bad government in their state — just leave. And take much of Oregon with you.

A 13th Oregon county will be voting on a citizens’ resolution to escape Oregon liberalism and join the state of Idaho, KTVZ reported.

Voters in Crook County, Oregon, will participate in advisory balloting next May, joining a dozen other counties in the state which have already approved starting the steps to attach eastern Oregon to Idaho.

It’s part of the Greater Idaho movement, whose website states the current Oregon-Idaho line, set 163 years ago, “is now outdated.”

“It makes no sense in its current location because it doesn’t match the location of the cultural divide in Oregon,” according to the website. “The Oregon/Washington line was updated in 1958. It’s time to move other state lines.”

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Ultimately, any new change in the state line would require approval by both Oregon and Idaho legislatures and by Congress.

Wednesday, Crook County voters approved allowing the electorate to conduct an advisory vote in May 2024. The advisory vote would be “to determine voter attitudes of whether your Crook County elected officials should inform state and federal officials that the people of Crook County support continued negotiations regarding a potential relocation of the Oregon-Idaho border to include Crook County,” according to a ballot summary reported by KTVZ.

Also on Wednesday, the Wallowa County Clerk ruled that results on the Greater Idaho question on the ballot in that county were too close to require a recount, so the measure was deemed passed.

Will any of these counties succeed in seceding?

Instead of county commissioners, some Oregon counties are overseen by a “county court” which consists of a judge and a pair of county commissioners. Seth Crawford is county judge of Crook County and he said the boundary vote is “100 percent” advisory.

Crawford said he has always wanted “to have people weigh in” on the boundary question.

The Greater Idaho website lists a half dozen reasons to join Idaho, including Oregon’s 1) violation of American values by the state’s western majority; 2) lack of law and order plus infringement on the right to self-defense; 3) high taxes; 4) mismanagement of forests; 5) higher regulation, unemployment, and cost of living, and 6) lack of rural representation.

With eastern Oregon moving to Idaho, it would improve things for western Oregon, the Greater Idaho website says.

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The substantial western Oregon income tax revenue would remain without the state having to continue to subsidize the east; legislative gridlock would be reduced; both remaining Oregon and Greater Idaho would have increased self-determination, and, with the change of only one-half electoral vote, the number of seats in the U.S. House and Senate would not change.

It’s a long shot for Greater Idaho. But, as their website points out, border realignment has been done before.

And elsewhere, rural areas of Illinois, New York and Colorado are hosting movements to carve out entirely new states removed from influences of large urban areas, according to The Center Square, a publication aimed at covering state governments.

Given its distance from the state capital of Lansing and southern Michigan urban areas, the idea of the sparsely-populated Upper Peninsula of Michigan dividing into its own state of Superior has long been kicked around.

And if Democrats get greater control of Congress, there is little doubt they will seek to retain that power by granting statehood to the District of Columbia and possibly Puerto Rico.

CORRECTION, June 12, 2023: Oregon has state property taxes. An earlier version of this article said otherwise.

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.